Heart and Soul

By Kate I.

When I landed on the USC campus as a freshman in the fall of 1996, the only thing I knew I needed to do for sure was find a work-study job. For fear of waiting too long and losing out, I took the very first job I was offered — a $5.25 an hour job at a campus library. USC has a multitude of libraries, and that fall was the year a brand new library opened its doors…it was beautiful, bright, beckoning, a center of social activity, open 24 hours, bays of gleaming computers, print stations, fully staffed on site technical support, and friendly, cheerful librarians to help you maneuver the clearly labeled areas of the large building. Leavy Library.

Alas, my job was not at Leavy, it was in the much older, marble entombed, silent and still Doheny Library. With narrow stacks, a terrifying cage where the dissertations were kept, and a “periodicals” section with the most amazing ceiling, Doheny was one of the older buildings on campus and the opposite of a social space, even with the Cinema Library in the basement that allowed students to watch movies on Beta, VHS and laser-disc to their hearts’ content. The lighting was dim, the stacks were dusty, and getting lost was a nightly occurrence. There was no social hour, it was a haven for grad students and for anyone looking to disappear into their work for a little while.

Read more

Impeccable Timing

By Lynn M. 

I just finished watching the library video story when my 7-year-old nephew knocked on my office window. Unbeknownst to me, he had been camped out under my window with his father’s watch to tell him when my work day had officially ended. The reason he was so excited? His favorite author we had been sharing together had released a new series he found at our local library. We began the original series together, first my reading to him, then progressing to sharing the reading together, and finally him reading the last three books to me. He was so excited he already read the entire book during recess, lunch, and the ride home from school. Neither his father nor his mother read for pleasure. While they are quick to pay for a new video game or toy, they do not buy him books. His love of reading is supported mainly by our local public library and his school library. Checking out my limit of books is how I devoured books when I first learned to read, and it’s so wonderful he has that resource available to him in this day and age of digital media. Without the resources a library provides, he would be limited to the books I buy for him as the only adult in his life that shares the love of reading. When he can devour a book in less than a day, it’s not a habit anyone less than a full library could sustain! It is so wonderful to see him just as excited by library day at school as he is by pizza day!

Read more

Libraries Provide Educational (and Creative) Resources for All

By Farah F. 

I was listening to an interview on NPR with Regina Spektor one summer, where she stated that libraries are sort of a level playing field for everyone. Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn, to enjoy books and film, music, and research. Libraries help keep our communities educated, and allow these resources to ALL.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a decent internet connection. Our house was on 5 acres of land. But we were required to use the internet for our projects in school. Needless to say, the library helped me with this. Even in college, I would look up my grades, pay my tuition, and more, at the library if I was back home for break.

Read more

Finding a New Job

By Aaron C. 

I was in my 2nd year at GMI / EMI which is a school that had a calendar of 3 month CO-OP engagement, 3 months of schooling, 3 months CO-OP, and 3 months of schooling as a 5 year program. My CO-OP sponsor was in California and my family was in Michigan. I tried to lobby for a new CO-OP sponsor with the school but was told that in order to change sponsors I would need to find my own. I walked out of that office and straight to the library.
During the library introduction at the beginning of the semester I remembered them showing us the various company registries and how you could find any company in them. I spent hours pouring over the listings and creating a mailing list of the companies that worked in automation which is not only what I wanted to do but it applied to my degree program.

Read more